Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 03 August 2015

Eleven Feel Good Hits Of The Summer From Brighton's Most Mysterious Musical Project

Think surf, think beaches, think long heat-filled days of youth and young manhood, and more than anything think Brighton's 60s Mod-heyday. 

Even though the sounds are instantly recognisable, The Raving Beauties self-titled album is no mere 60s pastiche.

All We've Got Is Now may be an instant earworm, but the remaining ten tracks more than just make up the numbers.

Album opener Arrows melodically glides like a Byrds standard, all classic songwriting, jangly guitar lines and Bev Bevan style drumming, before All We've Got Is Now lands and signals the party is underway.


Some Girls – the album's recent single – has a an almost Brian Wilson attention to melodic detail. One play and you'll be whistling it for days.
Just A Fool catalogues the longings and heartbreaks of a typical teenage summer of love. Beautiful guitar lines layered over heartfelt and yearning vocals.

Closer Benediction is seemingly a short, sharp yearning for the peace that follows the blessing of a summer fully lived.

So who are the The Raving Beauties?

They categorise themselves as a self-styled strange imaginary retro Brighton-based band who have caused a bit of a stir since the release of their single 'Some Girls',

By any yardstick, the bands is one of modern pop's more far-fetched projects. 

A little while ago, Northern Irish writer/musician and adopted Brightonian Brian Bell sat down to write a collection of short stories, having recently published Brighton-set pulp fiction novel 'Die Hard Mod' (under the pen-name Charlie McQuaker). 

One of the new stories, 'The Unsung Classic', involved an ill-fated band from the early nineties whose music was heavily influenced by The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Moby Grape.

"I've always been fascinated with Brighton"s retro 60s subculture which was probably at its peak about twenty years ago when Primal Scream set up camp here," says Brian.

"You'd see wee gangs of dudes that looked like they'd come in a time machine from late 60s California strolling around North Laine and they'd hang out in places like the Heart in Hand pub and a club called The Sunshine Playroom, banging on about their heroes like Arthur Lee, Skip Spence and Gene Clark. 

"I was taken with the idea of one of those gangs being a band called The Raving Beauties, who recorded a retro album which sunk without trace but is then rediscovered as an 'unsung classic' two decades later by a struggling journo."

Upon completing the story, Brian came up with the idea of making an E.P. of what that imaginary combo might sound like and releasing it on vinyl as a 'benign hoax', purporting to be the unreleased recordings of a long-forgotten 60s retro band. 

He managed to convince acclaimed Scottish singer/songwriter/producer Gordon Grahame(Lost Soul Band/Lucky Jim) to collaborate with him on the project and produce it: 

"Gordon's an incredibly prolific and gifted songwriter and I asked him if he had any songs up his sleeve in the Byrds/Buffalo Springfield vein that would sit well with the tunes I had. As it turned out, he did."

The resulting recordings were met with an enthusiastic response from Jim Walker who runs the Brighton-based label At The Helm

Jim was so enamoured of the four songs that he promised to release an album if the duo could muster enough tunes. 

As the album began to take shape, it became evident that, by transcending their influences and taking on a life of their own, The Raving Beauties had outgrown their modest fictional beginnings. 

The Raving Beauties eponymous album will be available from 21st August 2015 via Resident, 28 Kensington Gardens,Brighton, and also for pre-order via this link: At The Helm Records — The Raving Beauties - The Raving Beauties (CD)

by: Mike Cobley


Britain's nostalgia obsessives have a new act to follow: a TV themes band, Dream Themes, playing what one aficionado describes as 'songs for the sofa'.  
English post-punk/hip hop duo Sleaford Mods will be in Brighton later this year in support of new album Key Markets. 
Brighton and Hove community groups joined Cathedral Group in a final showcase of dance and performance, arts and recycling at the Circus Street market building to mark the closure of the building ahead of redevelopment.

Over the last few years Manchester Orchestra scrapped a full album's worth of tracks, replaced their rhythm section and parted ways with their record label. But, there was hope on the horizon .. 
Local author and travel writer Jennifer Pulling had been to Sicily many times and thought she knew the island well. That was, until she stumbled over the cruel fate that faced many of Sicily's cats. 
A Hailsham mum of one, Charlotte Hutson who has Type 1 diabetes is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help out at a sponsored walk to raise vital funds for Diabetes UK that is taking place in Eastbourne on 19th September 2015.;
Brighton Digital Festival, the UK's largest celebration of digital culture, today announces its programme of more than 150 events for the festival’s fifth instalment which runs from 1st to 27th September 2015.
This year's Brighton Early Music Festival is celebrating Women - as composers, performers, inspirational characters, muses and symbols, and includes the largest UK celebration of historical women composers.
A creative Brighton man who founded a unique theatre company to allow deaf, disabled and hearing children to enjoy performances together has been recognised with a national honour.
Sufjan Stevens came to prominence with the first album to be released as a part of his Fifty States Project, a collection of folk songs and instrumentals inspired by his home state of Michigan. 
Originally, Nic Joly, the cousin of comedian Dom Joly, started sculpting as a hobby, crafting his miniature characters out of clay, paper and wire to hide around his home for his children to find.
It was a sorely belated recognition for one of the most beautiful voices of the 21st century,matched by a songwriting and lyrical prowess that conveyed every atom of pain, fear and endurance that has defined John Grant's life so far, not just with a striking level of self-awareness but the most life-affirming streak of dark and scabrous humour too.
A collection of signed limited edition artworks comprised of iconic Marvel comic book covers are available at Castle Fine Art, Brighton, from Friday (24.07.15).
Before his death, actor Terence Rigby asked dramatist and close friend, Juliet Ace, to assist him in compiling his biography. With such a wide and varied career, Ace knew it would be no easy task. Unfortunately, Rigby died before she had even scratched the surface.

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